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12U Q-and-A: Using video as a teaching tool

10/25/2017, 2:45pm MDT
By Ken Martel, ADM Technical Director

Q: Around the rink, I see teams videotaping games. As parents, is this something we should be doing for our kids at this age?

A: Video is certainly a tool that is used at the older performance levels of our sport. And for many players, it can become very negative depending on how coaches use it. If all they ever present to their athletes are the mistakes, then it doesn’t take long for those athletes to dread the next video session. But done correctly, video can be valuable, even at the 12U age classification.

At this age, video can be a great tool just for the player to watch themselves play. It provides a different perspective on their own performance and the game itself. It’s not something you want to force on kids, but you will find that most are interested in seeing themselves on screen when there is no threat of outside criticism. For example, a beneficial video coaching strategy at 12U could involve having your player watch himself or herself play a period of hockey and then pick out three things they did well and one thing they didn’t do well. This starts the process of constructive self-evaluation that helps athletes improve their performance.

Another age-appropriate teaching tactic involves pausing the video occasionally and having the player ask himself or herself questions about the play. Initially, they might need a little help or prompting regarding what questions they should ask. Here are some examples:

  • “Am I in a good position here to support the puck?”
  • “What might be a better position to be in defensively?”
  • “Where do I think the puck is going to be in three seconds?”

The idea is to ask questions that get players to think about what is happening on the ice.

So, yes, video can be used productively for 12U players, but only if it’s used in a positive way to increase their understanding and self-evaluation skills. The key is to avoid overdoing it or turning it into a negative process for kids.

The author, Ken Martel, coached collegiately at Air Force and Michigan Tech while also helping guide numerous U.S. National Teams. As a player, he skated four seasons at Lake Superior State, winning an NCAA championship in 1988.

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